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Esther 4:11-14 – Mordecai Urges Esther To Save Her People

Summary

After King Ahasuerus follows Haman's advice and issues an order to have all of the Jewish people killed, Mordecai sends a message urging Esther to risk her own death and to go unbidden before the king to speak on behalf of her people. Without mentioning God directly, he tells her that even if she keeps silence, help will rise from another quarter. He says, "Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this."

Analysis

Much of the action and theology of the book of Esther hinges on this crucial passage. The die has been cast, and the Jewish community is under the worst kind of threat. Though Mordecai never speaks directly about God, his message to Esther contains two significant theological insights. First, accepting the role of a leader who aids the salvation of one's people is a choice that can be accepted or rejected. This choice involves great risk and has personal consequences. But, second, this choice cannot block the ultimate fulfillment of the divine promise to save. God's promises will be fulfilled, one way or another. Esther has a choice. Once she accepts her role, her character is transformed in the book. She takes risks, and she takes control. Her courage, ingenuity, and wisdom define her leadership and make her an able instrument of God's saving work.

Esther 4:11-14

11‘All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden sceptre to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days.’ 12When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, 13Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, ‘Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.’

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10 February 2011